• Nettles need phosphates in the soil in order to thrive. This is why they grow so well near where humans live, with our phosphate-rich rubbish dumps and livestock paddocks.
  • Nettles have evolved stings to prevent them being eaten by animals.
  • Despite their stings, nettles have for a long time provided a source of food for humans in the form of soups, broths and teas.
  • Nettles are also used as a fibre to make string and cloth.

Where it grows

The stinging nettle thrives in nitrogen-rich soils across North Africa, temperate Asia, the Himalayas, Europe and North America.


  • Acuminate: with drip tip.
  • Ovate: two-dimensionally egg-shaped with widest part at base.
  • Panicle: branched flower stalk.
  • Perennial: lives for at least two years.
  • Raceme: a flowering structure where the individual flowers are clearly stalked, the newest and last to open being at the apex.